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Apple Unveils New Emoji for iOS, Including Gender Neutral Options

Hundreds of new emoji will soon fill the screens of Apple iPhones and iPads. The new emoji, which will be part of the soon-to-be-released iOS 11.1 update, will include some that have been long-desired, such as dinosaurs, gender-neutral people, and the American Sign Language sign for “love.”

Here’s a glimpse of the just-announced emoji, which came our way via The Verge:

Animated gif showing new emojis for iOS 11.1

There’s some truly awesome—and nerdy—stuff in there. Let’s take a closer look.

Fantasy Emoji

Emoji of a Fairy, Mermaid, Vampire, and Wizard

The four new Fantasy emoji—which will be available in a variety of skin tones—are likely to be the ones that stand out first for geeky types. Soon you’ll be able to retell your latest Dungeons and Dragons campaign in emoji, use that wizard emoji (which bears a striking resemblance to Gandalf) to tell someone that they shall not pass, or embed that vampire emoji in their Halloween-themed twitter handle. These four will join the previously announced Elf, Zombie, and Genie emoji.


Emojis of a dinosaur, cricket, hedgehog, and giraffe

More animal emoji are definitely appreciated, especially since I often find myself looking for animals that aren’t already in the library. I see a lot of people using the dinosaur emoji a lot, though the cricket (or, multiple crickets) will probably see a lot of use when conversations go dead. Throw in the previously-announced T-Rex emoji and you can recreate Wash from Firefly playing with his dinosaurs.


Emojis of an Asian dumpling, broccoli, a pie, and a Chinese takeout container

Food emoji are also quite popular, so these four are welcome additions to the iOS emoji library. The classic Chinese takeout container is probably the best of the four, but that dumpling definitely has me craving some dim sum.


Emoji of a trench coat, red scarf, green gloves, and blue baseball hat

There are very few clothing emoji in iOS already, so these are welcome indeed! The scarf and gloves are ideal for cold days, while the trench coat will be useful for tales of detectives and spies. The odd duck out is the baseball cap, which does not seem to fit with the winter theme of the rest of the clothes. Still, perhaps useful for texting about Stranger Things season two.

Sports and Games

Emojis of a person rock climbing, a red sled, and a curling stone

Aside from the bow and arrow, I don’t use the sports emoji very much. Still, these are some awesome additions, and I can see the rock climber and sled being useful in unexpected circumstances—you never know when you need to retell the plots of Cliffhanger or Citizen Kane in emoji. And that curling stone should come in handy around Winter Olympics time.

Gender-Neutral Emoji

Gender-neutral emojis of an adult, a child, and a senior citizen with grey hair

These are without a doubt my favorite of the new emoji, and they’re the ones I will be most likely to use on a daily basis. One of the major failings in the existing emoji library is that every realistic human emoji (as opposed to the “classic” round yellow face emoji) is either male or female, with many of the female emoji being stereotypically feminine. Whether because they don’t conform to traditional gender norms, are non-binary, or for some other reason, many people don’t feel well-represented by the current emoji. These emoji will help change that. (They’ll also be useful when talking about mixed groups and people of unknown gender.) I’ve been looking forward to these since Unicode first announced them over the summer.

Classic Emoji

Emojis of a person swearing, a person going "shhh" with their finger, a person wearing a monocle, a silly face, and a woman in the shower

For most people, these will be the emoji that get the most use. The four yellow-faced emoji are all great additions, especially the swearing emoji. I have a special love for the monocle-wearing emoji, though, and will surely invent reasons to use it. We’re also getting a fantastically-rendered emoji that has just stepped out of the shower. That steam and the tiny bit of hair escaping underneath her towel make it one of my new favorites.


Emojis of a hand making the ASL sign for love and an orange heart

Last, but definitely not least are two emoji in the theme of love. The first, a hand making the ASL sign for “love,” has been one of the most-wanted emoji for years. (It differs from the existing “horns” emoji by having the thumb placed outwards, rather than on the palm.) In addition, we now also have an orange heart, which completes the rainbow of heart colors.

These are not the only emoji coming in iOS 11.1, though. Apple promises the update will bring hundreds of new options, including a batch previewed back in July. In case you missed them, here’s a glimpse of some of those emoji, including the coveted Sandwich, Exploding Head, and T-Rex:

Animated gif previewing new emojis in iOS 11.1

Is there a particular emoji you’re excited to see or one that’s missing from the set? Let us know in the comments.

Images: Apple

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